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Guide to Study in USA for International Students? Part 1 – Planning

Recently one of our readers asked for the complete sequence of steps for studying in USA as an International student. This post is just a check list and each step will be a link to article on how to do effectively do that step in future. Imagine this page as table of contents for a book. It will take time for me write these articles…you have to stay tuned 🙂

I am assuming international students will have 16 years of Education in their home country before they come to USA for education. Please do NOT be scared at the list. It is not as bad as you think. Just trying to put in every detail so that you do NOT miss on anything and be at disadvantage.

Want to Study in USA? Goals?

Imagine you are in the 2nd year of your 4 year degree (typically engineering) and you look at your seniors in final year getting admissions (I20s) to study in US. A spark ignites in your mind that you want to study and live an American Dream! Some of you might have goals to study in US even before entering college. This is the ideal time to start laying strong foundation… “ Rome was not Built in a Day”

If you decide, it is a very risky move to study in US financially or it is not ideal for you and you are not ready. You can stop here and do not worry about below sections. If you have decided to study in US, then read the rest of the article.

First steps for Studying in USA:

Taking the Standardized Tests:

  • Book the Dates for GRE and TOEFL based on your plan
  • Research US Universities of your interest
  • What are your dream schools in US ? Check their Average GRE / TOEFL Scores ?
  • Set targets for GRE and TOEFL Scores.
  • Importance of Leadership and extracurricular activities for USA Application.
  • How to improve your profile by Volunteering, Student Organizations, etc?
  • Preparing for GRE
  • Preparing for TOEFL
    • What is TOEFL ?
    • TOEFL Pattern ?
    • Books for TOEFL ?
    • Should I watch Movies for English listening ?
    • Is TOEFL Easy than GRE ?
    • How to improve your listening skills?
  • Last week preparation for GRE and TOEFL
  • Tips for the exam day of GRE and TOEFL tests.
  • Universities list  for submitting on GRE/ TOEFL day (NOT Final list)

Test Scores and Universities Selection:

Just for sake of clarity and not making this post too long, I am breaking down the article into multiple posts. Check the  Part 2 : Guide to Apply to US schools. Admission and F1 Visa process for International students.

Image Credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lumaxart/2137729748/


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  1. Hi admin, I have completed my Bachelors in Electronics and communication. Now i am working in top MNC . I love IOT and want to pursue masters in it in USA. Could you please suggest me best Universities .

  2. I did my B.Tech (Automobile) from SRM Univ. India. I got MS Course in Sys. Engg. Management in Univ. of Texas, US. After completing one year, I changed my concentration from Controls to Supply Chain Managemnt coz, I wasn’t able to co-op with Controls concentration. I m highly confused about my future like job prospects etc. I don’t know what got wrong. My parents are worried to see me in this situation. I don’t know what to do after investing so much, there is dark and dark. Pl. suggest

  3. Hello Admin,
    Nice information shared by you and thanks for sharing this useful information with us. We also want to draw your attention towards our scholarship named as “IUP Alumni Legacy Scholarship”. The deadline of the scholarship is November 15, 2017. The scholarship will be awarded to incoming IUP students who are the children or grandchildren of alumni and have and a minimum QPA of 3.0.
    Kindly go through the given link:

  4. Sir i am studying btech 2nd year in cse i want continue my studies(3rd&4th year &ms) in foreign what should i do i mean what i study and how iam confused plzzz help me

    • Sahithya,
      You can do that. You need to look for schools that can take you as a Junior and transfer your credits. You can write to admissions at schools to get an idea. Usually, there are many universities that offer this transfer program.

  5. m from india. My wife is doing study in UCLA EXTENSION. But now she don’t want to continue her course over there. Bcoz fee charges of course so high and she is doing language learning course in ucla extension, after one year she will go to her main course business entrepreneurship. Now we can’t afford her fee from india and she can’t do work in US. Please tell us what we should do please plzzzzz

      • Are leadership and extra curricular activities that imp for geting admission in good college
        I gave my gre a month ago i scored 333 which i guess is a great score my acdemics record is even good.
        But i have no extra curricular activities as such.
        I still have time before a leave for us could u plz guide me to improve them before i send my applications to college

        • Pratik,
          It depends, hard to say. Having such extra curricular activities does help though. If you do not have anything as such, dont worry too much, you cannot do much now anyways. Try to position yourself well in SOP on the reason and your aspirations.

  6. Hi im usha ,I’m studying 2nd yr B.E (cse), I want to do my m.s in us in which year shld take my GRE exam so that immediately after my 4th year I can go to do my m.s in us…plz help me plzzzzz

  7. Sir, Thanks a lot for such comprehensive and clear guidelines. It is really helpful for people like me who get confused with too many different perspectives.

    Sir, I have different question regarding MS, which is not addressed in your article. I want to pursue MS in USA so that I could build a startup in USA. Would be thankful to you if you could put some light on the topic.

    • Rahul,
      In my view, doing MS in US may not really help you build a startup in USA. There can be complications with Visa and other things as you will be on study Visa in US…You can do it for sometime on OPT, but that is time bound like 12 months after graduation. If you really want to build a startup, do it in your own home country as you will have lot of independence from visa perspective.

  8. I would like to know the process to pursue my masters degree in Photography.

    I have completed by Bachelors degree in Photography from a reputed University in India and wanted to understand what are the entrance exams I need to clear, visa that is needed and fee structure etc.

    Appreciate if we can have a call anytime during EST timezone (prefer afternoon hours) to discuss further.

    • We do not give any individual service. I suggest you check few universities websites on the program and figure out the requirements. It should be pretty straight forward.

  9. Sir I am taking education in second year computer engg..I have to take education in USA for m.s what step’s should I take plzzz tell me.

  10. i m doing my engineering in IT department.as my brother is doing MS in USA.so i want to do MS,but my percentage is low as 6.8.if i ll do MS , my lowest percentage in b.tech may affect during job in usa?,i want to know this

    plz help me

  11. sir;I have completed my Bs four year programme with mathematics combination of (Operational Research;Statistics;Set theory etc) and some subject of applied math also.I want to do job in USA asZ well as continue to my study for master level.My cgpa is 2.97 on scale 4.Plz guide me for the opportunities of the usa people which their government provide them.I belong to Lhr PAKISTAN ALLAH HAFIZ.

  12. Hello,I’m Sandeep am pursuing my b.tech 4th year in ECE.
    I am planning to take my GRE in 2 months and i need to know the best consultancy in hyderabad to go with.
    so please guide me the best consultancy…..

  13. I am thinking of doing MS in USA.. I am working as a software engineer with 2+years experience.. In what way my experience as s/w developer useful for me ..?

  14. hai iam almost over with my btech in computer science.
    iam planning to take my gre in about 2 months.
    Which all colleges should i be looking at in US

  15. I have cleared my 11th standard exam & I want to be a scientist.
    but I don’t know which course should I prefer after 12 standard whether b.sc or b.tech
    I am so confused . I am interested in mechanical & chemical field .please advice.

  16. Hello,I’m Srujana a graduate with aggregate of 2014 with 68% in my b.tech(EEE).I am interested in Embedded system and i want to pursue my Msc in USA so is it possible and how much score do i need to crack in GRE.
    and what is the fee structure and universities offering Embedded system

  17. I have done diploma in civil engineering & i got 6 years of professional experience in recruitment & HR. Currently i am in USA in H4 Visa and want to complete my degree. kindly guide.


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